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The Promise of Better Customer Service Draws Consumers to Small Businesses

By | 05.01.14

An April 2014 study from AYTM Market Research, as reported by research firm eMarketer, found that superior customer service was one of the top two reasons customers prefer working with small businesses. Registering a whopping 53 percent, it easily out-distanced all other motivators for choosing small businesses (the number one reason, supporting the local economy, was just slightly ahead at 56%).

Of particular interest, prices were well at the bottom of the study as only about a quarter of the respondents cited lower prices as a reason to prefer small businesses – and indication that other factors well outweighed costs in choosing to work with a small business.

This data corroborates previous studies from 2013 that show almost 90 percent of respondents indicate customer service as the reason for preferring small businesses over large.

Interestingly, what small business owners consider to be the most important attributes are what creates the user-experience customers seek. In the study “Consumer and Small Business Perception Survey” conducted by and Toluma, owners view creating a business that is “Committed; Accountable” (87%); “Responsive/Friendly” (85%); and “Reliable/Consistent/There when customers need them” (77%) as the keys to attracting customers – approaches that easily dovetail with the consumer preference for personalized customer service.


eMarketer. “Consumers Favor Small Businesses Because of their Customer Focus,”  April 21, 2014. “Consumer & Small Business Perception Survey,” September 10, 2013.

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